Blind Guardian – High Concept

Blind Guardian are a rare beast.  They take chances within their Power Metal domain, whilst retaining their rabid fanbase.  Their concept albums are neural networks of stories overlaid with melodies of inspiration.

Blind Guardian formed in 1984 in Krefeld, Germany and are often credited as one of the seminal and most influential bands in the power metal and speed metal subgenres.  Ten musicians have been a part of the band’s line-up in its history, which has consisted of singer Hansi Kürsch, guitarists André Olbrich and Marcus Siepen, and drummer Frederik Ehmke since 2005.

From this power metal powerhouse comes their orchestral xenomorph, Blind Guardian Twilight Orchestra; all the fun of the band without electric guitars.  This is a brave move, that could alienate fans and split their support.  However, this group is a fantastic addition to the Blind Guardian brand.

Legacy of the Dark Lands

Finally, Legacy Of The Dark Lands has arrived and is rendering the world utterly speechless. Recorded with the soundtrack-experienced Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, Blind Guardian have crafted a fine orchestral album that is up their with legendary classical and musical soundtracks. Created and conceptualized with German fantasy author Markus Heitz, this album is the direct sequel to his bestselling novel Die dunklen Lande (“The Dark Lands”), telling the story of an apocalyptic secret in the dark times of the Thirty Years’ War.

There is a touch of the Harry Potter movies’ soundtracks with the instrumental opener “Overture 1618” and the spoken word segments feel like something from Jeff Lynne‘s War of the World soundtrack.

Furthermore, the band then reach into James Bond territory with the amazing “War Feeds War.”  I was absolutely blown away by the power of this song.  Hansi‘s vocals come alive with all the usual power and melody you would expect, but I did not miss the electric guitars element, as classical music shares the same attributes of heavy metal.  The drama.  The power.  The passion.  All of these elements are on the record.

In addition, the story takes the listener on a compelling journey and I am finding it a compulsive listen, especially when I want to chill out.  A bloodline to JRR Tolkein is noticeable with the story, the fantasy elements and the quest for justice.

Obviously, you may think that classical music would not be memorable for rock fans. However, this collection does come back to haunt you with great ear-worms such as “The Ritual” and “The Great Ordeal.

The Legacy of Blind Guardian

This is not the first time that rock musicians have experimented with classical music.  However, it takes a brave (and extremely talented) band to pull off this concept album.  This is because it wraps its hooks around you and you don’t notice the lack of electric guitars or drums.

Therefore, this is a wonderful ball of wax that will become a warmly remembered part of the band’s catalog.  Is this BG‘s Music from the Elder?  Nope, and this is because it’s too good for that!

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